The pin up girl – 7 of the best

the pin up girls

Pin up girls or cheesecake models have been popular since the early 20th century – here are my pick of my favourites and the most influential.

Betty Grable

Betty Grable was one of the most popular pin up girls during WW2. Famed for having the best legs in Hollywood her pin up photos were a real favourite stuck on the lockers of GIs.

Betty Grable pin up photo

Above: Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Jack’s Movie Mania

The Gibson Girl

The Gibson Girls were one of the earliest popular ‘pin up’ girls. Drawn by Charles Dana Gibson there were idealised drawings of the beauties of the age and were all the rage in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Gibson girl pin up

Above: source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Stmarygypsy

Varga Girls

Varga girls are some of the most iconic pin up images – partly because they were copied onto the noses of planes during the Second World War as symbols of good luck.

Alberto Vargas started painting quite modest beauties for Esquire Magazine during the 1930s but during the war the girls became more and more risque as they played dress up in military uniforms. Thousands of copies of Esquire were sent to American troops as a morale boosting exercise during WW2.

Varga girl pin up 1946 calendar

Above: Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by grumlinas

Bettie Page

The ‘Queen of Pinups’ and a popular pinup girl of the 1950s, Bettie Page is famed for her fetish and bondage photos. Her style is still emulated today with her trademark bright blue eyes, trademark black hair and short fringe.

Bettie Page pin up

Above: Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Pedula Man

Marilyn Monroe

Easily the most famous of all pin up girls, Marilyn Monroe cemented her pin up status when she was the first woman to cover Playboy magazine in December 1953. More photos of Marilyn.

Marilyn Monroe pin up photo

Above: Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Antonio Marín Segovia

Jane Russell

Jane Russell caused outrage when she displayed her ample cleavage for her first mainstream move The Outlaw. She never really looked back after that…

Jane Russell pin up photo

Photo: Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Jack’s Movie Mania

Brigitte Bardot

French actress Brigitte Bardot reached fame in 1956 when she starred in And God Created Woman which launched her sex kitten image. She was one of the iconic sex symbols of the 1960s with her big hair and kohl rimmed eyes.

Brigitte Bardot pin up photo

Above: Source and copyright: Some rights reserved by Jack’s Movie Mania

So, which pin up girl is your favourite? And did I miss anyone important out..? Let me know what you think!

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  • stacyblaise


    Miss Stacy Blaise

    • Mary

      ah, but who’s your favourite? :)

      • stacyblaise

        I think Bridget Bardot. :)
        Very hard choice though.

        Stacy Blaise

  • Rincewind

    Betty Grable was just stunning but Vargas is the king of pinups and I would say one of the more influential artist except Gil Elvgren.

  • Katie

    Brigitte Bardot looks so much like Julie Christie (in Dr. Zhivago) in this photo.

    Oh and I really like Varga Girls.

    Jane Russell is very beautiful – I love her in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn.

  • CutandChicVintage (@cutandchic)

    Yes I was wondering what happened to Gil Elvgren’s girls? Bettie Page and Jane Russell would be my favorites. Go brunettes! ;)

    • Mary

      Very true – Gil Elvgren’s pinups should probably be in there too…


    Marilyn, by far. I’ve been planning a pin up tattoo of her on my left leg for a few years now, but just can’t find the right pose for her to be in.